How I Started a Clothing Biz with No Experience

Hi, I'm Chad, founder of Chuck Waters. The number one question I always get asked is "how did you start Chuck Waters?", so I figured I would turn it into a blog!

Dylan (my business partner) and I were both Biology majors while attending the College of Charleston. A typical day looked pretty much like this:

  • Wake up at 8:25 am for an 8:30 am class since all science classes are at the crack of dawn.
  • Sit through ANOTHER class about plants.
  • 10 minutes after that class ended, run to your next class about some sort of math.
  • End the day with a 3-hour lab.
  • Go to the library from 8 pm until 1 am and study for the 4 tests that are all in the same week.

As you can imagine, the life of a science major isn't glamorous. We all strive to make it to some sort of medical school, but to get there you have to go through 4 years of undergrad and 4 years of medical school at least. While I love science, I was wanting something on the side to do while I waited 8 years to become a Dentist (the original goal).

In May of 2016, I began to think of some sort of business that I could create to satisfy this need for immediate satisfaction. This is when the idea of a t-shirt company that gives back to charity was born. I figured making t-shirts was probably the only thing I could afford, nothing would be better than to see a random person wearing my brand, and if nothing else maybe donate a little bit of money to charity.

The name took forever to come up with. I knew that if I found the right name I would know immediately. After days and days of thinking, Chuck Waters popped in my head and I knew right away. The name has 2 meanings: First, Charleston is also known as Chucktown, hence Chuck and Charleston is a peninsula surrounded by water, hence Waters. The first reasoning should make sense to Charleston locals but the second meaning is simply someone's name. I figured if you weren't from Charleston, it was a name behind a brand such as Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger.

After I had the name and the basic idea, I approached my roommate (Dylan) to join the team. I had the name, I had the idea, and I had a small team, now what?

We had no idea how to create an e-commerce website, how to market products, where to have t-shirts made, how to make designs/logos, etc. Lucky for us, we had google and weren't afraid to ask around! Everything you see today that is Chuck Waters has been done by us. From our website to our designs, from the Instagram to photoshoots. We learned it all!

Today, I focus on website development, social media marketing, branding, wholesale, and design. Dylan does our packaging, shipping, inventory, quality checks, and runs the ambassador program. We now have a third partner, Steven, who handles all finances, legal, business certificates, and strategy. Building a team is key. Find people for your team who bring different things to the table. You don't need 4 people who are experts in social media. One of my best friends once told me, "you never want to be the smartest person in the room because that's when you stop learning and growing".

I can't tell you the steps on how to start a business because they will be different for every single company. Even other t-shirt companies will have a different startup process than we did. But that's the fun part. Looking back on all of the late nights, confusion, and overspending on stupid products is what made Chuck Waters what is today. 

We have a long way to go but seeing how far we have come is absolutely insane. Just scroll to our first few images on Instagram (@chuckwatersapparel) to see what I'm talking about. 

Thank you to everyone for the continued support! We absolutely love seeing everyone's images repping C.W. and we can't wait to see how far we can take this. 

We would love for you to leave a comment below. Want to see more blogs like this, tell us. Want us to share more images, tell us. Also feel free to follow and connect with myself and Dylan on Instagram @chadross4 and @dgraham_5!



  • Carolyn Ross

    Love the designs and the fabric quality as well! 👍

  • Perky

    Enjoyed reading this. Best wishes for continued success! I’ll be ordering soon.

  • Kiki

    Y’all rock

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